ELKINS -- Supreme Court Justice Brent D. Benjamin will be the keynote speaker at a ceremony celebrating the opening of the Randolph County Juvenile Drug Court.

The ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, March 28, in the courtroom of Circuit Judge Jaymie Godwin Wilfong in the Randolph County Courthouse in Elkins.

Judge Wilfong, of the Twentieth Judicial Circuit (Randolph County); Mike Lacy, Director of Probation Services for the Supreme Court Administrative Office; and Randolph County Commissioner Mike Taylor also will speak. Juvenile Drug Court Coordinator Sherri Hulver will introduce the drug court treatment team members.

The Randolph County program is among 10 juvenile drug courts in West
Virginia. As of Jan. 1, 45 youths had graduated from the four programs that were in operation before July 1, 2010. The Cabell County program and Wayne County programs were established under Supreme Court supervision in 2007 and the Logan County and Mercer County programs in 2009. Other programs have opened since July 1 in Brooke/Hancock, Lincoln/Boone, Monongalia, Putnam, and Wood Counties.

Juvenile drug courts are cooperative efforts of the juvenile justice, social service, law enforcement and education systems in West Virginia. They divert non-violent youths ages 10 to 17 who abuse alcohol or drugs from the juvenile court system into an intensive, individualized treatment process which includes parental involvement. Juvenile drug court programs provide intensive out-patient drug and alcohol treatment, intensive probation case management and compliance monitoring.

Each juvenile drug court has four phases. The time a participant spends in the program varies according to that person's needs, but is at least six months. Six months of aftercare also is offered.

Each county selected for a juvenile drug court has the support of county officials, including a circuit judge, a sufficient juvenile case load and substance abuse indicator data to support the program.

The goal of juvenile drug courts is to prevent participants from having any further contact with the juvenile justice system by helping each youth learn to deal with challenges as they arise and by increasing family self-sufficiency.

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